Happy: July 2004 Archives



We drove around Sauvie Island this afternoon, just outside the city of Portland. These two photographs are of landscapes approximately two miles from the city limits, and only twelve miles fom the very center of town. They are totally representative of an island which has no gas stations and no visible commercial life outside of its pick-them-yourself farms.

Dreamy. Even Gerhard Richter would be impressed.

Actually, much of the island looks like the kind of arcadia which could have inspired Capability Brown. See Bloggy for more beautiful images.


In spite of all reported sightings to the contrary, Ben Franklin is not in Boston this week. Can't say that I blame him.

This image was captured in downtown Portland yesterday. This city was founded by New Yorkers and New Englanders in the mid-nineteenth century, and it remains a very sensible and very liberal society, so maybe there's some logic to Franklin's visit (or move?).

While it looks like he's now in a serious stretch from his sober sartorial habit (his Parisian friends would love it), he still wears the same glasses and he still seems to be interested in journalism.

five businessmen enjoy lunch together this afternoon en plein air, downtown Portland

A beautiful idyllic town, designed to please the biped who enjoys leisure, Portland nevertheless must be paid for. These men however don't think the business has to be endured with hairshirts.

While they were having lunch at 12:30 in the afternoon, I was really enjoying the concept of leisure by making it brunch. The scene was the very pleasant French cafe, Carafe, on shady SW Market St.

on the Oregon coast yesterday afternoon, just north of Otter Rock

We made it to the Pacific, but when we got there everbody was gone.

Actually, Barry and I are staying in Portland this week, where he's attending a tech conference, and after that we'll be in Los Angeles for a week. Yesterday was free, so we drove to the coast, much of the time through an almost abandoned wilderness, to stick our toes in the Pacific.

It's a long drive for one day, so while we didn't have much time to explore, the town of Newport looked like it would worth more than a detour.

We had a great lunch at the Chowder Bowl above Nye Beach: tiny shrimp in a thick clam chowder, followed by oysters and chips (clams and chips for Barry), the crustaceans all from local waters. Yes, they had good beer and wine, but most of the families sitting around us took a pass on the grownup stuff and finished quickly; they must have found the calories which fed their very ample American forms elsewise.

Another thought from a New York innocent abroad: This part of the world is very middle class and white, very clean and very civic. Why is it that away from the East Coast this country seems to be able to provide clean restrooms almost everywhere and such essentials as well-cared for parks or other public amenities, while in the Eastern cities you have to be a sneak or a sleuth to find a bathroom, and even a successful search will rarely uncover a clean, decent-sized facility? And in so far as parks are concerned (at least in New York City), unless you can get corporations to sponsor them, including their maintenance, your neighborhood is just out of luck.

As a nation are we able to provide for the public only if that public is perceived to be composed of a homogenous class and ethnicity?

Of course there are some parts of America which do have homogeneity, but still don't think anything should be provided to the public. If you're from such places, or visited them, you know where they are. Those are the areas from which most decent people flee as soon as they can - sometimes ending up in Oregon or New York.


I remember now why galleries used to just close altogether in July and August. On Tuesday afternoon I wandered into the Dearraindrop show, "Riddle of the Spinx," in the large Wooster St. space of Deitch Projects [no website!]. It was very warm out, the garage door was open in welcome, and of course there was no air conditioning. Even before I had passed through the door cut into a paper pyramid to enter the exhibition space I had noticed what appeared to be a complementary installation directly across the street, but I was intent on the purpose of my visit.

The multi-media Dearraindrop installation will definitely reward the time I myself was unable to give it that afternoon; there appear to be scores of drawings and collage works hosting the larger constructions, and they are small only in their scale.

I had forgotten to bring my fan with me however, and so, since I'm famously impatient with heat and humidity, I left sooner than I would otherwise have wanted to.

I noticed that there seemed to be only one person babysitting the gallery, a smiling, very young man behind a table at the entrance. But then there was also the interesting more mature man seated just next to him, who was stretched out in his chair and appeared to be dozing. Only after I took the photograph at the top of this post did I suspect that he was the artist I should have engaged that afternoon. I regret I didn't have the nerve to interrupt his rest to ask about the great work he had placed on the sidewalk outside, opposite the sassy pyramid in the garage.

And yes, as if in a salute to the broad talents of the collective installed across the street, there was music coming from his work as well.

Dearraindrop, Deitch Projects installation detail


Spotted on the way home from Williamsburg, on the uptown platform of the 14th Street IND station around midnight one rainy evening earlier this week: An attractive and serious young man, comfortably slouched on the bench, reading a copy of Ernst Cassirer's "The Myth of the State," small headphones holding his thoughts in place. At his feet rested a beautiful, wet, Winnie-the-Pooh folding umbrella.

Unfortunately I didn't have the nerve to use my camera; this time I had to just squeeze my eyes and record it without mechanical assistance.

Lovely, New York.

[image from Umbrella-Shoppe.Com]


KING JOSIAH'S is surely the cleanest and most beautiful hot dog cart in the city of New York. Note the condiments. We spotted Josiah, and a few of his friends and customers, parked at the curb on the northwest corner of 8th Avenue and 14th Street tonight at 11 o'clock. Frankfurters on a bun still only $1 each, even with all this style.

on Lafayette Street this afternoon

The image is that of three skateboarders studying videos of skateboarders. They are looking at a number of monitors behind a grill protecting the display window of a skateboarder shop, Supreme, closed for the holiday. The street, normally quite busy, was otherwise virtually empty.


We went to the Central Park Zoo this afternoon. The animals were delightful, but the people (almost all of them escorted by baby people) were pretty wonderful too. Barry said that he thinks everyone should be required to go to a zoo once a month. It would improve the species.

Actually, even in Manhattan it isn't really necessary to go all the way to a zoo to visit wildlife. I captured the picture above, of two baby field mice, while I was enjoying a small sandwich standing next to the granite wall on the side of the Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesday afternoon.

My attention was first caught by rustling in the underbrush which was followed by the appearance of several of the tiniest birds I had ever seen. The baby wrens were soon joined in their grazing for scraps by these two mice, and for five minutes or so it was touch and go, neither group interested in joining the other for lunch.

They were more afraid of each other than they were of me, so I was unable to include them all in the same viewing screen, even after I had sacrified some breadcrumbs of my own.

Oh yes, about the Zoo. The Rainforest installation was magnificent, especially for someone as crazy about birds as I am, but the penguin room was my absolute favorite, outranking the sunbathing polar bear or even all of the monkeys combined. Somebody in that Zoo has a thing about penguins, and I understand the obsession perfectly: There must have been nearly a hundred there, waddling on the rocks or torpedoing through the cold water, all under a painted Antarctic sky.

Unfortunately the gay male penguin couple was not identified by a plaque, and since Roy and Silo obviously couldn't be distinguished by a superior taste in costuming, we were unable to locate them.

This page is an archive of entries in the Happy category from July 2004.

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